Chain Reaction: Electric Lettuce

With nearly 600 current stores and another 981 applications in the pipeline, Oregon’s retail cannabis environment is one of the most diverse and competitive in the country, due in part to the lack of a cap on licenses, a longstanding medical program and regulations that allow for out-of-state ownership and investment. Portland alone has a citywide average of more than one store per square mile.

But even in a market as difficult and crowded as Oregon’s, several chains have established themselves as market leaders, cutting through the noise to achieve dominance in the retail category.

While the vast majority of Oregon cannabis companies have only a small handful of stores, there are 11 that have five or more retail licenses. Though they come from vastly different backgrounds and built their businesses through elaborate designs, pervasive marketing, aggressive expansion or smart buying decisions, all are doing something to resonate with consumers in the Beaver State.

Marijuana Venture checked in with some of the largest chains in the state to see how they rose to the top and what they have planned for the future.

A Portland Original

The name says it all. A unique and funky Oregon original, the four-store Electric Lettuce dispensary chain was conceived by the owners as a throwback to a more mellow time, when everything was groovy, and reefers were mostly decriminalized (at least in cool states like Oregon, which was the first to decriminalize cannabis, back in 1973).

According to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission 11 businesses have more than five retail licenses in the state. Marijuana Venture reached out to all 11 and profiled the businesses available to participate in the feature article.

Nectar

Classy, competitive and the largest vertically integrated retail chain in Oregon.

No. of retail licenses: 14

LaMota

Vertically integrated with large selection and competitive prices.

No. of retail licenses: 10

Hi Cascade

Wide variety of local products in a traditional dispensary setting.

No. of retail licenses: 8

Chalice Farms

Vertically integrated with rustic, traditional retail shopping experience.

No. of retail licenses: 6

Electric Lettuce/Serra

Beautifully designed, offering experiential retro and posh shopping atmospheres.

No. of retail licenses: 4/2

Five Zero Trees

Vertically integrated, Oregon-centric, celebrates local cannabis culture.

No. of retail licenses: 6

Sweet Relief

Northeastern Oregon chain with a small-town and homespun feel.

No. of retail licenses: 5

Attis Trading Co.

Western-themed, apothecary with plans for national expansion.

No. of retail licenses: 5

Cannabliss & Co.

Longstanding medical roots with historic and community-centric locations.

No. of retail licenses: 5

West

Oregon’s newest dispensary chain opened in 2018 with five retail licenses.

No. of retail licenses: 5

Mr. Nice Guy

Colorful atmosphere with a variety of unique, cozy locations.

No. of retail licenses: 5

Described as “an experiential brand, a carefully and thoughtfully curated dispensary focused on value through nostalgia and discovery,” customers at the four current locations — Cedar Hills, Beaverton, Oregon City and Portland’s Lloyd District — always know they will be greeted by a friendly and knowledgeable staff member who is trained to appreciate the various product lines, while also helping to convey a relaxing vibe that allows for a more nuanced shopping experience.

Each location is unique and designed with the customer in mind. Shopping becomes a fun romp back through time to an era of peace signs and hippie love, specifically 1965 to 1971. The Electric Lettuce locations, and the company’s two more upscale Serra dispensaries, are all located within the greater Portland metropolitan area, which affords management the ability to visit all locations regularly and keep the stores well stocked.

But employees are the heart and soul of a successful retail operation, and management recognized this early on.

“Electric Lettuce involves avid folks committed to our brand efforts and sharing knowledge about the limitless potential of cannabis products,” says spokeswoman Chasity Roesler. “We’re grateful and incredibly proud of what our staff have done to set a strong foundation for the brand.”

Future plans call for two additional Electric Lettuce retail stores to be opened in downtown Portland and the city’s Belmont neighborhood, bringing the company’s total to eight stores in the greater Portland area.

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